Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Thursday, 25 June 2020

Back to church

Whilst I was in the city centre today I called in and spent some time in the Oxford Oratory. This was the first opportunity I have had since the church reopened last week for private prayer, and the first time I have been in the church - any church - since March 19th.

The management of access with hand sanitizer at the door, volunteer stewards and roped off pews was well arranged and it was good to be able to actually sit in a church before the Tabernacle rather than rely on livestream coverage of liturgy, however well transmitted.

It was also good to see other members of the congregation to nod to and exchange greetings. Quite a number of familiar faces came into church whilst I was there, suggesting how much people have missed being able to go in during the closure. The church is open from 2 until 5 each day at present.

One beneficial side effect of the closure is that it has afforded time for a pretty drastic spring cleaning of the interior of the building, which now looks very much better than it did.

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